This paradoxical question is at the core of feminism. I can guarantee that the answer will depend on your gender. I left this comment over at Heartiste’s Womanly Economy post:
Of course society wide conspiracies exist. Feminism is the biggest one. Give me a break: all male companies conspired to hold women down and perpetuate a patriarchy? My ass.
Here is the clearest indicator that the job market has shifted in its preferences:
Sit a man down and sit a woman down, and let them compete performance-wise for a job. If the job was actually selecting for high achieving individuals, they would do this. If every job was similarly selecting for performance and achievement uber alles, then men would outperform women in a broad stroke and you would see a minority of women who could contribute (more than their vagina) to the productive output of a company.
Men derive equality from competition. Women derive equality from warm, loving embrace of whoever makes her feel special. To summarize:
Male equality: “You beat me, and we are relatively equal.”
Female equality: “Awww, you poor disenfranchised person. Come eat dinner with us.”
I then followed up with:
The fauvist said it perfectly above.
Male equality = competition.
Women equality = conformity.
So tell me: when has conformity ever produced value? When has conformity ever made money?
Reality proves that competition produces value and makes money. Women simply have no idea how to understand this. Hence the debt.
Men never benefit sexually from conformity, whereas it is irrelevant to women. Men have to stand out and dominate to be chosen for sex, but women can be anywhere in the hierarchy of achievement, and, so long as they are hot and sexy, will attract men.
I cannot emphasize how profound this difference is. A man could say “I am equal to God” and in order to make that assertion valid in the minds of others, he would have to perform miracles and would have to destroy worlds with lighning bolts. But if a woman says “I am equal to God,” she would only have to conform to God’s teachings the best, a la the Virgin Mary.
Male-male equality originates in competition.
Male-female equality originates in the best sexual match.
Female-female equality originates in who looks the hottest.